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Backdrop: The Nigerian-Owned Travel App That Changes The Way You Share Pictures
Deemed ‘the go-to travel discovery app for people who love pretty places’, Backdrop was developed by three young Nigerians— Timilehin Ajiboye, Damilola Odufuwa and Odunayo Eweniyi— looking to give a new face to travel apps within the world of technology.
The trio met over six years ago at a Zikoko, an Africa-focused youth publication, and their careers in tech and digital media branched out from there.
“Backdrop IS an app that helps people find picturesque places all over the world, but with a little more detail,” explained Damilola Odufuwa and Odunayo Eweniyi during a podcast on the brand’s IG page. “It is an app and a social network where users can discover and share beautiful pictures. When you are on Instagram or any platform and see a really cute place that makes people want to go, Backdrop gives more detail about them like address location, opening times, dress code, Free Wi-Fi and a lot of other details that are not always in the same place and other platforms like Google or Instagram.”
The idea of creating Backdrop came when Ajiboye became intrigued with the necessity of building a travel app after conversations with a circle of friends. He told TechCrunch that one friend reached out to him asking if he knew of any platform where she could find new, aesthetically pleasing places to dine in, visit and take pictures. And then, during a trip to Miami, he and his friends actively sought out beautiful places to eat — and take photographs.
Ajiboye said he believes that the process of sourcing travel-related information on a platform has become ridiculously time-consuming. He argues that massive platforms like Instagram that venture into any content created a need for niche platforms.
“Instagram is like an operating system for pictures. Everything is happening on Instagram — travel, beauty, e-commerce. Same with Pinterest,” he said to TechCrunch “Increasingly, you’ll find that for some people, they use these platforms for travel and there hasn’t been any experience created for travel that takes into consideration 2021, which is people like to take pictures in front of places that look great and share with their friends.”
Ajiboye came up with the name Backdrop and reached out to two friends, Damilola Odufuwa and Odunayo Eweniyi, to build the platform and turn it into a company.
The young entrepreneur explained that with Backdrop, users can discover and share beautiful places to take pictures based on their interests and criteria. The founders believe that with post-pandemic travel becoming more complex, Backdrop can serve as a travel companion for millennials and Gen Zers, especially those obsessed with traveling to pretty places.
“If you run a Google search or use Instagram, everything comes up, including results irrelevant to your search,” Odufuwa said. “If you’re looking for pink restaurants in Dubai, you might not be able to get that on Instagram, and Backdrop changes all of that.”
With hashtags, users can find specific places, and the “Backdrop Near Me” feature allows them to discover other places they can visit close to their current Backdrop location.
The company has a photo research team that finds these places across 26 cities globally. They also take pictures and input the necessary information in each backdrop.
The cities that are shown in the app are Amsterdam, Dubai, Istanbul, London, Los Angeles, New York, Seoul, Paris, Tokyo, Cape Town, New Orleans, San Francisco, Chicago, Las Vegas, Miami, Marrakech, Fez, Tangier, Rabat, Cancun, Cabo, Tulum, Lagos, Abuja, Madrid and Valencia. On average, there are 100 to 300 pictures in each city on the platform.
The company allows users to upload backdrops themselves and input the necessary information on each. Other users review the posts before listing on the platform, either by upvotes or downvotes. They can also review others and earn redeemable points for helping build the community.
“That’s how we’re trying to transition from having to personally curate backdrops and letting the community decide the sort of backdrops that make it to the platform,” Ajiboye said.